Ryan Day

Ryan Day Reacts To Cotton Bowl Bid, Talks Michigan, What Is Next For Buckeyes

COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with reporters on Sunday following the announcement that the No. 7 Buckeyes will be facing the No. 9 Missouri Tigers in the 2023 Cotton Bowl. He answered questions about the matchup, last weekend’s loss to Michigan, and much more. The highlights of everything he had to say can be found below.

  • When do you need to know if players are opting out? There is a team meeting tonight. They’re going to go through the schedule and talk through the next few days and weeks. All of the meetings they’ve already had have been positive. The guys know they want to have something to show for the season.
  • How much will they view this as the start of next year vs. the end of this year? It’s a bit of both. They’ll finish this season the right way but young guys will get a lot of reps in practice.
  • Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz is a very good coach. Day has paid attention to what he’s done as a head coach. They’ve gotten to know each other and encourage each other from afar. The Cotton Bowl is a great venue with great hospitality.
  • How has the last week been in this building and how do you approach a bowl game where there could be a number of guys opting out? The loss was disappointing. There are a lot of prideful guys on the team so they’re going to use this opportunity to either finish things out the right way or build momentum toward next year.
  • Jim Knowles communicated with Day that Duke had reached out and there were talks, but that’s what happens this time of year with job searches. “I’m sure our guys are going to continue to be sought after.” Knowles is very happy here at Ohio State.
  • Every year they look at making changes on the coaching staff. “I don’t have any updates right now.” Is there urgency to make those moves now since this isn’t a playoff year? It is a different time right now and they will take that into consideration but nothing to update right now.
  • Will you play younger players in this game to get them experience? “We want to win the game.” “We’re going to put the best guys out there to win the game.”
  • Is Kyle McCord the guy or will he be pushed in bowl practice? Those are things they’ll look at, and not just at that position. There will be several practices to get some good evaluations in. They’ll go with who gives them the best chance to win the game.
  • What do you think about Florida State missing out on the playoffs? “I’ve got my team to worry about.”
  • Is there still an incentive to play a major opponent in the non-conference? Yes, now with a 12-team playoff, “for sure it does” give you an incentive to continue playing those kinds of games. “I think it’s great to challenge your team and find out where you’re at…” and grow throughout the year. They did that with Notre Dame.
  • A week to reflect from the Michigan game, what has jumped out the most? Not that it’s anything surprising but it came down to a couple of plays. Extremely frustrating for everybody to not finish it the way they wanted to. “A couple of things here and there and you’re on the losing side of the game.” “To not get it done, it certainly leaves a mark. It’s not something you get over.”
  • The expanded playoff won’t change the focus on the Michigan game.
  • How has Kyle McCord handled the loss? It’s not something you move on from quickly and it’s not just one or two guys, it’s everybody.
  • How do you heal from the scars? Nobody’s going to feel sorry for them so they have to push forward. That’s life. This is another life lesson for the guys to learn. “The world’s not stopping for us so we’ve got to keep moving.”
  • How does the transfer portal work for you now? It’s a very unique time in college football now in December. There’s just so much going on. There’s high school recruiting, rosters move a lot. Much more than they ever have before.
  • Do they expect to continue to be more aggressive with the portal? They were more aggressive last year because it’s inevitable. That’s not changing. The portal opens tomorrow. “You have to construct your roster on a yearly basis.” They have to make sure they do a great job of identifying the right fits.
  • Are you more numb to when guys leave now than you were three or four years ago? Yeah. When players used to leave you wanted to know why and what’s going on. Now, it’s much different because it’s players looking for different opportunities.
  • They talk about roster management all the time. It’s cyclical and right now the portal is a constant topic on a daily basis. They will look at the portal for depth and where they are thin in some numbers. Some guys will leave Ohio State for playing time elsewhere.
  • Did you get the level of quarterback play that you need to reach your goals? When you come up short you have to evaluate everything.
  • Is Kyle McCord your starting quarterback next season? “I think that’s kind of a long way away right now.” “Everyone is going to have an opportunity to go compete.” “I don’t really have a great answer for that just yet.”
  • “Certainly everyone knows it comes down to one game every year.”
  • Are you open right now to a time-share situation with the quarterbacks or is it Kyle McCord’s job? Not going to get into that right now and not sure he’s at a point to answer that.
  • Regarding the criticism of Kyle McCord: You try to build up the armor early on and prepare them for what can happen.
  • There are always conversations with the players about leaving or staying, that’s just the way college football is right now. Some guys may have better options elsewhere. Sometimes you are recruiting your own roster and showing them what your vision is for them in the future.
  • There were a lot of really good things this year from Kyle McCord. He got better as the season went on. He played through an ankle injury. “I think he’s a good quarterback. I do.” But after each year you evaluate everything and try to do what’s best. He made a lot of progress this year.
  • “We’re just going to work like hell to get the thing fixed.”
  • The expanded playoff won’t impact the focus and importance of the Michigan game. If you don’t wake up in the morning thinking about that game then you probably don’t deserve to be in this program.
  • How did you coach in the Michigan game? “Probably different than I did the year before.” They had a good plan and had a good week of practice. You look back on some decisions you made and wonder about the alternatives. But when you make the decisions at the time you’re doing it with the best intentions with the information on hand.
  • You’ve got to own the decisions that don’t work as a coach.
  • How has the last week been for you? It’s not about the criticism, it’s about the players and what it means to them. It hurts. It will hurt forever. “That’s just part of competing.”
  • Are you a fan of keeping conference championship games? There’s a lot of great conversation about that recently at league meetings. The game means a lot to the league. But when it comes down to it you have to consider what it means when you’re one of the top two teams in the conference and then you’re playing each other for a spot. Being a conference champ should really matter when it comes to the top four.
  • Are you in the market for a quarterback in the portal? “We’re not out there actively searching for anything.” They’ll see what the month brings at all positions. They like what they have but they’re going to look to see what’s out there at all positions.

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